Dr. Rosenberg argued that gun violence prevention and gun rights are not at odds with each other. It is possible, he said, to come up with policies that protect both the rights of gun owners and public health. Dr. Swanson believes that red flag laws are such a policy. The push for them lasted 10 years.
In January 2013, just weeks after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Daniel Webster, a pioneer in the field of gun violence research, convened a summit of two days on gun violence reduction.
Along with Mr. Horwitz, Dr. Webster directs the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Hopkins. Mr. Horwitz leads advocacy, while Dr. Webster oversees academic research. The goal of the summit, Dr Webster said, was to gather “evidence-based recommendations on what policy makers should do to address gun violence in America”, and release them quickly, in order to influence Congressional negotiations.
But the resulting book – including chapters by Dr Swanson and Dr Wintemute – failed to move members of Congress, who passed no new laws.
Two months later, Horwitz convened a research consortium, he said, “to really think about how to deal with this issue of guns, mass shootings, suicide, without stigmatizing people. with mental illness”.
Soon, Dr. Swanson, Mr. Horwitz and other members of the consortium began traveling the country, promoting evidence-based policies, including red flag laws, to state legislators. In 2014, California became the first state since Indiana to pass a red flag law. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia have them.